Yes, I have schizophrenia.
What if you could see my illness, what then? No doubt it would be a horrific sight or maybe something beautiful like abstract art. Something wild and untethered by logical thinking.
If you saw me with crutches there’s no doubt you might open a door for me but what if I was having some sort of cognitive dysfunction, mild paranoia or something schizophrenia related; what would you do?
I may have mentioned before that my last job coupled with medication failure, drove me into a six month episode. What amazes me is that they denied me leave of absence so I could go to the hospital. I partially remember the phone call and with validation from my wife, I learned that the YMCA lied to me. They told me I haven’t met the requirements for LOA which was untrue. It wasn’t until later on that I realized that they were only just trying to push me out of the company. They continuously gave me write ups and verbal warning on things that were directly related to my illness. For example my work ethic, tardiness and other things. Mind you I was a good worker up until that point, without a single write up on my record. Now how hard would have been to allow me to go to the hospital and get a medication adjustment, then get right back to work? If you ask me it wouldn’t have been hard for them at all, there were plenty of people who could have picked up the slack of my absence until I returned.
Situations like this are the main reason I am not open about my illness. I read recently that people with schizophrenia are more likely to fall victim to human rights violations than most. A disturbing fact that I had recently learned and believe me, it kept me up at night. To think that someone would take advantage of my illness doesn’t surprise me. People take advantage of each other all the time but up until the YMCA I was blissfully unaware of how awful I would be treated because of my illness. It was and is still surreal to me. I don’t make it a habit to apologize to anyone other than loved ones for what my illness puts me through and this is no exception. I am not sorry that my illness inconvenienced the YMCA and I will never be. If anything I deserve an apology from them for the hitler mentality that I was met with when all I asked for was help. Help for the illness that was causing great distress for not only me but my loved ones. Help for the disease that I was born with, one I would not ask for. Enough of that for now, they’re not worth the time of day.
Moving forward I believe that it is of the up most importance that we start recognizing mental illness as as we would a physical aliment. The kind of uneducated, hitler, and Hollywood stigma that forces the mentally ill into hiding needs to end. It’s nothing less than a persecution of people with tactics such as bullying, discrimination, blatant violations of human rights and in some cases murder.
It’s unfortunate that people aren’t calling it like it is and that people are just brushing it under the rug. We are people too and should be treated as such.
I shouldn’t have to worry about telling my bosses about my schizophrenia for fear that they might get rid of me. I shouldn’t have to worry about going into the hospital and being violently subdued for simply speaking out of turn. I shouldn’t be forced to go through a psych evaluation because a family member wants me gone or is angry with me. I shouldn’t have to worry about being unlawfully detained and brutalized by police, laughed at and spit on. I shouldn’t have to worry about a doctor calling me an ambulance because I disagree with what she said. Wake up people, these things and worse happen everyday to the mentally ill.
It needs to stop.